It is no secret that I am in love with Tel Aviv, and that it is pretty much the only city where I can see myself living, other than Cagliari, where I grew up. There are so many things to do in Tel Aviv, so many places to visit, that I am never quite done exploring.
But more than anything else, I feel like I belong there: I have lots of friends; I know my way around; and simply feel comfortable. Tel Aviv feels like my home away from home; the only place in the world where I am regularly mistaken for a local – until I speak, that is, and people realize I can only mutter a few words of Hebrew (because speaking Hebrew is an added bonus when in Tel Aviv).
To find out why I fell in love with Tel Aviv, read my post “Tel Aviv loves life.”
I didn’t expect to fall for Tel Aviv. Like most people, I went to Israel to visit Jerusalem, and decided to stay a couple of extra days to see what the hype for Tel Aviv was all about. It didn’t take me long to realize. I found Tel Aviv to be lively yet chilled; political yet welcoming. It is the kind of place where it’s virtually impossible to get bored. Finding fun activities in Tel Aviv is easy, regardless of one’s interests and tastes: there’s always something going on; there’s always someone around, at whatever time of day or night.
To read more about Jerusalem, check my post “Traditional and alternative things to do in Jerusalem.”
Every time I am in Israel, I find new and interesting activities in Tel Aviv – like the time I was walking along Rothschild and found myself in the middle of a silent concert: I spotted a small crowd, two musicians seemingly playing without making any noise, wore a pair headphones I was offered and listened to some great music, dancing along to tunes that passers-by could not hear.
I know that it isn’t every day that one may bump into a silent concert. Either way, Tel Avis is a lot of fun throughout the year, and you should visit for sure. Here are 21 things to do in Tel Aviv to make the most of it.
21 Fun Things To Do In Tel Aviv
Go on a city tour
Going on a city tour is one of the best things to do to properly discover the city. A good walking tour will hit most of the places to visit in Tel Aviv, such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Habima Square and the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion; Rabin Memorial; Reading, the old power station; Rothschild Boulevard and even the beaches and the waterfront. A fun way to explore the city is that of going on a segway tour of Tel Aviv.
These are the best city tours of Tel Aviv:
- Tel Aviv city walking tour
- Old Jaffa and Tel Aviv segway tour
- Customized half day walking tour of Tel Aviv
- Tel Aviv and Jaffa private tour
- Tel Aviv old and new including the German colony
Tel Aviv is extremely bike friendly, and pretty much everyone in Tel Aviv goes around by bike. Biking lanes connect the entire city, and bikes can be rented at pretty much every corner in town and at any good hotel or hostel. Once you can get hold of a bike, make sure to explore the city; to get to the old Reading power station; to bike along the waterfront and to make your way to Old Jaffa. There even are amazing bike tours that can be easily booked online.
These are the best bike tours of Tel Aviv:
TIP: Other than bikes, you can now also rent scooters. I have never done it to be honest – I am not confident I’d be able to ride it. But locals swear by it as a way to zip through traffic.
Explore Old Jaffa
Old Jaffa is considered part of the greater Tel Aviv area, and one of the best places to visit in Tel Aviv. Needless to say, you have to explore the narrow alleys of Old Jaffa, passing by the Clock Tower, the Flea Market, the Wishing Bridge, Andromeda’s Rock and Al-Bahr Mosque. There are daily free walking tours of Old Jaffa that depart at 2:00 pm from the Clock Tower. Jaffa Port is an incredibly cool place to visit during weekends, when Tel Avivians crowd its many fabulous restaurants.
These are the best tours of Jaffa:
Walk around some cool neighborhoods
I can’t quite decide what my favorite area of Tel Aviv is. I love Levontine and its low key bars and restaurants, the music scene and the interesting buildings – so decadent yet so charming. Florentine is my go to area for a night out, as there is an incredible choice of pubs and bars. And Neve Tzedek, one of the coolest places to visit in Tel Aviv, is the perfect place for an afternoon hang-out, with its cute coffee shops and boutiques. In doubt, I recommend walking around all neighborhoods.
Observe the beautiful Bauhaus architecture
In 2003, Tel Aviv was declared UNESCO-rated for its beautiful Bauhaus architecture. This style was implemented throughout the city by architect Sir Patrick Geddes in the 1930s and 1940s. The architects who designed the buildings believed in egalitarianism and carried socialist ideals – hence the flat roofs of the buildings, thought to be communal areas for the residents.
Of the original 4000 Bauhaus style buildings of Tel Aviv, only a few hundreds have been restored. Taking a guided Bauhaus tour is is a great way to admire this interesting architectural style. You can book it here. You can even go on an architecture walking tour which you can book here.
Wander around in search for street art
Street art in Tel Aviv is pretty much anywhere. I found a lot of it in Old Jaffa; I came across some great pieces in Levontine. Yet, the biggest surprise in terms of street art is the new bus station in HaHagana. Hardly considered one of the places to visit in Tel Aviv, I actually went there to catch a ride to Nazareth and ended up exploring it because the street art was just that interesting. Make sure to go – even if you don’t have to catch a bus. Or else, go on a guided tour.
These are the best street art tours of Tel Aviv:
- Tel Aviv graffiti tour
- Tel Aviv street art tour
- Tel Aviv urban tour: architecture, food and street art
- Tel Aviv street art and graffiti tour
Go to the beach…
Mark the words of an expert – I come from Sardinia after all, and I know what a good beach looks like. Tel Aviv is blessed with really good urban beaches. Whether for a simple walk along the waterfront during the fall or spring season, or a dip in the clear Mediterranean waters when the temperatures rise, going to the beach is what to do in Tel Aviv for either fun and relaxation. The good news is that a bunch of them are also pet-friendly!
TIP: If you manage to swim across the waterbreak lines, you’ll get a fabulous view of Jaffa from the water.
…to the pool…
If you happen to be in Tel Aviv during the summer months (you’ll be happy to know that summer drags alone for quite a few months here) make sure to spend a day at Tel Aviv coolest open air pool. Gordon Pool is right by Gordon Beach, at the very beginning of Tel Aviv waterfront’s walk. Access is around €20 ($20 USD) for a full day, and with that you get access to the changing facilities, showers and a locker, as well as to the loungers by the pool.
Gordon Pool is a fabulous swimming pool and the dream of all swimmers. It’s a 50 meters long open air pool filled with sea water at just about the perfect temperature for swimming. It honestly is the perfect place to train and hang out on a hot day.
… or to the park
Park Hayarkon is a great urban oasis in Tel Aviv and the place to go to for a family picnic or for activities such as biking, running, climbing (yes, there’s a climbing wall!) etc. If looking for a place to hang out during the weekend, Park Hayarkon may be a very good option.
Admire a fabulous sunset
The light is special at sunrise and sunset, but I am generally too lazy to wake up before dawn to take pictures of sunrise. The great news is that Tel Aviv geographic position is perfect to stare at the sun setting on the horizon and dipping into the Mediterranean. Indeed one of the nicest things to do in Tel Aviv is admiring the sunset. All it takes is checking at what time the sun sets depending on the season, and walking to the waterfront to enjoy the show.
Get the buzz of Carmel Market
I love markets. I find them to be the perfect place to observe a bit of local action, and to learn more about the culture of the city and country I am visiting – whether through the items on sale (food does say a lot about a country!); or through the behavior of people at the market (do they bargain the prices? Do they yell for attention?).
Besides, markets are the best places to get some cheap yet tasty street food. Sure enough, going to Carmel Market is a must if you are in search for fresh produce and good street food. This is an excellent street food tour in Carmel Market that can be booked online.
These are some of the best market and food tours in Tel Aviv:
- Tel Aviv Carmel Market tour
- Tel Aviv street food tour
- Tel Aviv vegan culinary tour
- Self guided vegan food tour with app
- Street food tour in Carmel Market
- Experience the other Tel Aviv and its food, culture and people
- Tel Aviv Sarona Market 3 hour self guided food tour
Make sure to read my post “A Complete Guide To Israeli Food.”
Have a fabulous brunch
When it comes to breakfast, Israelis take it to a whole new level. Salads, bread, tahini, eggs and what not are ever present at any proper breakfast table there. In Tel Aviv, breakfast (or better, brunch), is the most important meal, and if you are looking for what to do in Tel Aviv on a Friday morning, I’d say that eating brunch is just the thing. It is the perfect way to kick off Shabbat, apparently, and there’s a wide range of fantastic restaurants that are famous for their amazing brunches.
The best places for brunch in Tel Aviv are Café Sheleg, on Ge’ula street almost at the corner with Allenby – it’s a small, quaint café where you’ll get a fantastic local vibe; and Benedict, which has several locations around town (I tried the one on Rotschild) and serves breakfast 24/7.
Get stuffed on hummus…
It’s worth repeating that food in Israel is simply delicious and actually very healthy. There’s an abundance of vegetables and salads, and a great selection of vegetarian and vegan food. In fact, Tel Aviv is considered one of the best cities for vegan travelers. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or not, you have to get stuffed on hummus. The best hummus in town is allegedly found at Abu Hassan, which is actually located in Old Jaffa.
… then burn it off
I swear I haven’t seen an overweight person in Tel Aviv, despite all the hummus eating that goes on. People stay fit by biking, running, walking their dog, surfing, swimming (see what I just wrote about Gordon Pool), playing beach volley and matkot – a popular game similar to beach tennis. Sure enough, staying fit is a must when in Tel Aviv.
I am hardly a shopaholic, but I admit that I find the beautiful boutiques scattered around Tel Aviv very tempting. Whether looking for the latest trends or for vintage clothing, shopping is what to do in Tel Aviv when wanting to splurge some cash.
If you want a local shopping experience, go to Dizengoff shopping mall. Shops aren’t honestly that great, but the architecture of the mall is interesting. You may get stuck there for a while – it was designed so that the exit is hard to find!
Pet all the cats
I love cats and I miss my cats dearly whenever I travel. The fun thing about Tel Aviv is that there are a lot of cats around. Most of them are strays and the locals take care of them, paying for their health care and food expenses. If you love cats as much as I do, you’ll have a blast stopping and taking photos of the many strays and petting them. Some cats are incredibly shy, but there are some who are very human-friendly.
Go on a pub crawl
I am hardly a drinker. In fact, I can endure half a pint of beer without getting drunk, and a pint of beer to become giggly and tipsy. But let’s face it, the bar and pub scene in Tel Aviv is fantastic and going on a pub crawl is one of the most fun things to do in Tel Aviv, regardless of the amount of alcohol you may end up drinking. Pub crawl tours of Tel Aviv can be booked online here for more than reasonable prices (considering how expensive the city is!).
Enjoy the vibrant nightlife
My friends think of me as the biggest potato couch ever. Comes the weekend, and all I want to do is grab a book and sit in the comfort of my home. Yet, Tel Aviv nightlife is so much fun that whenever I am there I feel compelled to go out. Go to Sputnik and Radio – although I shall warn that they are very smokey. Either way, enjoying the city’s incredible nightlife is a must.
Go to a festival
Not a month goes by in Tel Aviv without some major festival taking place. Whether it is a cultural event, a concert, or a huge parade such as Pride, there’s always something going on and it would be a pity to miss it if in town. One of the best things to do in Tel Aviv is attending a festival.
Hang out at a fantastic hostel
As one of the best destinations in Israel, there’s no lack of great hotels in Tel Aviv. I am hardly a backpacker, actually (in fact, I claim to be an unsuccessful backpacker). Yet, whenever I am in town, I prefer staying in hostels: picking a good hostel is what to do in Tel Aviv, especially if keen to save a few bucks. My favorite hostel in town is Abraham – it’s where I stay whenever I visit. Another friend loves Little Tel Aviv, because it’s smaller and quieter.
Hostels in Tel Aviv have been taken to a whole new level, becoming incredible meeting points for artists and musicians; places where it is possible to enjoy a drink, a concert, an art exhibition and even a traditional meal. Locals as well as tourists hang out at some of the best hostels in Tel Aviv, such as Abraham.
For a more complete list of places to stay in Tel Aviv, check out this post.
Get out of the city
Why would anyone who loves Tel Aviv as much as I do ever want to get out of the city? I won’t hide it: Tel Aviv can be incredibly intense at times. There’s a lot of traffic on weekdays, and it does get very hot in the summer. So, getting out of the city is a great way to recharge your batteries.
Luckily, the city is very well connected by bus and collective taxis that go pretty much anywhere in the country, and it is easy to get out whether for just one day or more. Furthermore, car rentals in Israel are very cheap, thanks to the high competition (it may well be the only cheap thing available).
A great and easy day trip from Tel Aviv that I wholeheartedly recommend is that to the Masada and the Dead Sea. It is actually possible to book the trip to Masada and the Dead Sea online.
These are some of the best tours to Masada and the Dead Sea:
- Masada and the Dead Sea full day tour from Tel Aviv
- Masada, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea guided tour from Tel Aviv
- Masada sunrise, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea tour from Tel Aviv
If getting out of the city is a must when feeling overwhelmed, good options for a weekend away may be the North of Israel, such as the Golan Heights, or Eilat and the Red Sea.
To find out why I am in love with Eilat, check my post “Why I love Eilat.”
The good news is that Tel Aviv is really well connected – major airlines as well as budget ones all fly to Tel Aviv.
Finally, here’s how to plan the perfect trip to Israel.
Have you ever been to Tel Aviv? What did you enjoy the most there?
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